Ranging from price, quality, size and shape, there are hundreds of electronic components and sensors to choose from. So which guidelines should you follow when planning the components and sensors to include in your smart product?

The following five factors should be considered when choosing components for your smart product:

1. Choose the simple solution:

For any behavior requirement for your product, there are numerous solutions to choose from, in terms of components and how to use them. If you select a simple solution, it’s often cheaper and easier to operate. For example, a push button is a simple method for sending a command, although the same behavior can be achieved using a variety of complex components.

2. Beware of pricing

Sourcing for the best quotation when purchasing components is a complicated task that can influence the success of your smart product. When building a smart product that offers a small profit margin and doesn’t have to meet  strict regulation standards — such as many products found in the smart toy industry — choosing a cheap and simple component may be advisable. Alternatively, when designing products for industries such as medical device companies, it’s important to consider using high standard components — that are also likely to be more expensive.

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Testing components during the development process

3. Allow time for research and development

When making the final selection of components for your smart product, ensure that you have set aside sufficient time for testing the components, assembling them onto the product, meeting the required regulations and quality assurance testing. Simple components, such as buttons or switches, are usually relatively easy to test, as engineers and designers can quickly integrate them into the product. Other components might require additional resources, such as Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) readers, which need to undergo extensive testing in order to conform to regulations. The antennae require matching in the Radio Frequency lab, and the reading distance should be tested to determine that it matches the product needs. All of these steps require time and can extend the smart product development process.

4. Prototype vs production components

The components used to build prototypes and the final product are often different. A simple web search reveals that there are hundreds of types of components that are used to build prototypes, enabling electronic prototype developers to support a large variety of behaviors required for prototype development. The components used to build prototypes are ideal for demonstrating product capabilities, however this is just one step in the development process. After implementing the prototype components, a process needs to be in place to adapt the electronics to the production kit. This introduces a new set of considerations, for example pricing, which might not be a factor when considering a small number of prototypes, however when thousands of products are produced the pricing factor becomes crucial. Another example of the difference between prototype and production components are differing requirements for shape and size. For example, in some cases prototypes might be tolerant of components that don’t fit perfectly, however the final product might require that the component exactly matches the final product in terms of shape and size.

5. Choose the components for the features – not the other way around

When selecting a component for your product it is important to ensure that it provides the desired outcome for your product behavior. If the selected component doesn’t sufficiently support the required product functionality it’s advisable to replace the component rather than change the required behavior or feature. For example, when making the decision to install a tilt sensor and not an accelerometer, it is important to understand that although tilt sensors are cheaper than accelerometers, they are limited in motion recognition capabilities needed for many smart products. Rather than limit the product’s behavior due to the component selected, it is important to to consider whether the component meets the requirement of the product functionality.

 

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Seebo’s prototype hardware kit.

By following these guidelines when considering which components and sensors to select for your smart product you’ll get a head start in your smart product planning process. Seebo’s team of Client Solution Managers, engineers, and designers are experts at selecting, testing, sourcing and implementing components for the IoT environment. Together with our professional partners in the electronics industries, Seebo helps smart product developers arrive at the best possible solution for their product. To better understand the various IoT components and their functions, check out the The Guide to IoT Components.



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